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The Mercury Villager and Nissan Quest Owners Resource


Welcome.
I hope that this page will be a helpful resource for anybody that owns a Mercury Villager or Nissan Quest. Contributions to this page will be from other owners and myself. If you have anything you would like to contribute please
E-mail Me. If you have a question regarding something that does not appear here, let me know. Comments regarding grammatical corrections are also welcome. Updates to this page will depend on the contributions from other people. How often those updates will show up here depends on how busy I am.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is provided as is and no guarantee to the accuracy of this information is implied. Although some of the problems and issue presented here are common, that does not guarantee that the fix described for that problem will actually fix your problem. I do hope that this page will be helpful and accurate, but I make mistakes and some of the information presented here is bound to reflect some of my opinions.

Mail list: There is an e-mail list for Villager and Quest owners on the Yahoo groups web site. To subscribe send an email to villagerquest-subscribe@yahoogroups.com, or click on the related links for more information on the mailing list. This Mailing list is a great resource for finding information and to share the things you know.


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The information here is presented in a question an answer form. Not all questions will have answers. If you know the answer to any of the unanswered questions or if you would like to add comments to something let me know.


Here is a list of the topics that are covered:
Inoperative Rear Blower
Fuel/Gasoline Smell
Splashgaurds
Bike Carrier
Whining noise from the Transmission
Difficulty Starting, Stalling in Hot Weather
Door locks with a Mind of Their Own
Sticking Throttle
Exhaust Noise
Service Manuals
Reprogramming the Keyless Entry Keypad
Programming the Remote Keyless Entry
A Clunking sound from the Underside
Dim or Inoperative Brake Lights
Worn Control Arm Bushings
Front End Clunk Noise
DIY Timing Belt Change
Inoperative Sliding Door Power Lock
Under hood Rattle coming from the Distributor
Rattling Sliding Door
Check Engine Light
Knocking Noise from Engine When it is Cold
No Heat from the Heater
What's This E-AT Switch for?
Rear Latch on Sliding Door Popping Open
Headlight problems
Where's the PCV valve?
Lights out on the Heating-A/C controller
Trailer Wiring
Rear Sliding Door Will Not Stay Open
Engine Runs Poorly When Warmed Up
Radio Display is Blank


Question:  The Blower for my Rear A/C quit working and all of my fuses are OK.

Answer:  The problem is most likely with the relay for the rear blower. The root of the problem is a bad solder connection between the relay and the circuit board that holds it. The circuit board is a part of the main HVAC controls in the front, not the rear controls. This can be fixed by repairing the solder connection or you can replace the HVAC control module for around $400. If you need more information on this you can try Steve Cutchen's web page
http://home.earthlink.net/~vqfaq

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Question:  I have a problem with a fuel smell.

Answer:  There are a number of possible sources for the fuel smell. Below are a few items worth checking.

If the you get the fuel smell from the front vents whenever you are stopped with the engine running you may want to try checking the rubber fuel lines that are connected directly to the fuel rail. There are two lines, one that feeds the fuel rail which is located on the drivers side of the engine, and the other one connects the front and rear fuel rails which is located on the passenger side of the engine. These lines can have a very slight leak, which allows fuel vapors to build up in the engine compartment and some these vapors will come in through the cowl vent. I fixed mine by tightening the clamps on these fuel lines. A few days later I had no problem with the fuel smell and haven't had a problem since.

If you get a fuel smell that develops around the van shortly after being driven there are a couple of items worth checking. This smell may also be coming into the van through the vents or may only be noticeable outside the van. The first thing to check is easy. Make sure the filler cap is tight and that the tether strap is not pinched between the cap and the filler neck. The next possible sources are the filler neck to the fuel tank and the fuel tank vent hose. There were some damaged vent hoses that were installed on some vans with allow vapors to leak from the hose and the older vans may have had some deterioration in the hoses allowing the filler hose to leak during refueling and the vent hose to leak fumes. There was a recall concerning the vent hose on the gas tank. If you find that this is the cause of your problem your van may not have had the recall work performed. If you believe that this is the case call your local dealer and see if your van qualifies for the repair. Have your VIN number ready when calling the dealer because they may need that information.

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Question:  I would like to add molded splash guards. Does anybody have any suggestions?

Answer:  Paul Van Harte provided me the following answer.
The mud flaps are made by Powerflow Inc, 1639 Bailey Ave, Buffalo, NY, 14212, part # 2040 front pair, 2041 rear pair, each are $19.99 Canadian.

He also said that these were available from Canadian Tire and that they are the molded type that are specific for the Quest/Villager. I will be checking to see where I can find these in the U.S.
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Question:  I would like to get a bike carrier. Any suggestions?

Answer:  There are some nice bike carriers that mount to receiver style trailer hitches. This bike carriers are made by Yakima, Thule, Reese, and a few other companies. Some of the carriers have a nice feature that allows the carrier to fold down to allow you access to open the tailgate. This saves you from having to remove the carrier to gain access to the tailgate. These carriers are available through a number of outlets. Two such places online are
www.etrailer.com and www.hitches-online.com.
Of course to use one of these you will need a trailer hitch if you don't already have one.
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Question:  My '96 Villager makes a whining sound when driving at approximately 45mph. Is there something wrong with my transmission?

Answer:  This appears to be normal, but if you find it annoying you could stop the noise by disabling the Overdrive by pressing the "O/D Disable" button on the gear selector. Also, I did find some information that suggested replacing the sun gear assembly to solve the whining problem on '93-'94 models. The parts and Nissan part numbers involved in this fix are: Sun gear assembly 31460-80X01, Oil pump gasket 31366-80X00, Oil pan gasket 31397-80X01. There is no mention of this being a reliability problem, just it being a noise problem.
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Question:  I have a 94 Villager the problem is it is slow to start. At times it seems if I turn the key to on, but not start it for a few seconds, it seems to help. A friend who had a 93 complained of having the same problem. Jack, LaGrange Park IL

Answer:  This is not uncommon for fuel injected vehicles.  By turning the key to "on" for a moment, before turning to "start", you allow the fuel pump to pressurize the fuel lines before you start the engine.  Quickly turning the key from "off" to "start" may not allow the fuel pump to build up enough pressure in the lines.  If there is not enough fuel pressure, the fuel injector will not be able to supply enough fuel for starting.  I would recommend when starting the engine to pause for a moment at the "on" position before turning the key to "start".  Here is a description of why this happens:  When the engine is running the pressure in the fuel lines is approx. 43psi. After the engine is shut off the pressure in the line bleeds off.  When you need to start the engine again the fuel pump needs to repressurize the fuel lines, but this does not happen immediately.   It takes a Second or two for the pump to properly pressurize fuel lines.  I would not worry about the slow start problem, since this is more of a slight annoyance rather than a serious mechanical problem.  However, if the slow start problem has been getting worse.  You may need to service the fuel system. I would start by replacing the fuel filter first, especially if it has not been changed in the past 20k-30k miles.  This is cheap and easy to do. The other culprits could be the fuel pump and/or the fuel pressure regulator.  Ford has a TSB that mentions an improved fuel pump to alleviate the problem with stalling in hot weather and long cranking times in cold weather.  Also, according to Nissan model years '93-'96 have a suspect fuel pump whose problems are characterized by stalling at highway speeds when driving in hot weather and long cranking times.  The Nissan replacement fuel pump p/n is 17042-0B026. One last note, as your fuel pump gets older (more miles on it) it will take longer to pressurize the system and when it gets old enough it will not be able to maintain proper fuel pressure.
(How to change the fuel filter and how to check the fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator may be added to this page at a later date).
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Question:  The power door locks on my van have developed a mind of their own. Locking the van when opening the front passenger door or when unlocking with the remote keyless transmitter or just plain locking whenever.

Answer:  I have found that there are four possible causes for the problem:
  1. Lack of debouncing of the switch on the manual door lock
  2. Corroded power feed near the battery
  3. Flaky power smart entry controller
  4. A Pinched wire

1.  Noisy Door Lock Switches/Lack of debouncing on the door lock switches  I would expect the Smart Entry controller to have some amount of switch contact debouncing built in, but apparently there is none or inadequate debouncing of the switch contacts.  What this means is that if for some reason the switch contacts are broken for a broken at any brief moment the controller thinks that you have activated the door locks through the manual door locks.  The switch contacts can be disturbed causing this momentary break through a vibration like opening one of the doors.  In my case, the door locks would often activate when we were opening the passenger side front door. Here is fix from Steve Cutchen who fixed his door lock problem by the following:

I traced the problem to something in the driver's side door mechanical keylock... the literal part inside the door at the keyhole. When locking the driver's side door lock from outside with the key, all of the other doors lock as well.   The electrical contact that signals the power locks from the keylock was evidently activating some of the times when the door closed.  Mechanically something inside the lock assembly was making the electrical connection when jarred.  The proper solution was probably to replace the lock assembly.  But that wasn't my solution.  I have remote operated locks that came with my alarm system.  So I never use the keyhole lock, much less the "lock the other doors for me" feature. What I did was cut the wire, disabling all electrical connection between the key lock mechanism and the power locks.  On my '93 Villager there is a green/red stripe wire which goes from the door lock actuator assembly to power door lock module (or the keyless entry module, if you have that). (the modules are in the center console area...) I cut this wire inside the driver's door.  I then twisted on a small wire nut on the end coming from the power door lock module to keep the wire from contacting a ground.

If you find that your wire colors do not match you can cut either one of the smaller gauge wires.  There are four wires on the door lock actuator, two to power the actuator mechanism, and two to signal the door lock controller the state of the door lock.  Do not cut the heavier gauge wires.  Those are the wires that power the actuator.  When cutting the wires, make sure that you leave enough wire on each end so that the wire may spliced back together if necessary.  There is a module near the latch inside the door. This is the location of the wiring that you need to gain access to in order to modify the wiring.

Here's the description from the shop manual on how to remove the door panel...

  1. Remove the door latch handle trim.
  2. Slip a clean shop rag between the window crank handle and the front door trim panel, if equipped. Pull the shop rag back and forth to release the window crank handle clip
  3. Remove the two cover caps and front door trim panel screws.
  4. Remove the two front door trim panel capped screws.
  5. Pull out on the panel beginning at a bottom corner to release the plastic push-pin clips.
  6. Pull up on the front door trim panel from the top to release it from the door panel
  7. Disconnect the door lock/unlock switch and power window switch electrical connectors, if equipped.
  8. You now own the front door trim panel.

To install, reverse the removal procedure.

Once you get the panel off, you'll find a thin water shield held in place on the door by a rubber adhesive. Carefully pull the shield away from the door without tearing it. You'll be able to just stick it back to the existing rubber adhesive... it stays tacky.


2.  Corroded Power Feed  I have had at least two reports from people who have had problems with corrosion of the power feeds near the battery. There is one large gauge wire that feeds the starter and two smaller gauge wires that feed power to other things. One person reported to me that one of these power feeds was corroded so bad that it would sometimes cause the power door lock controller to lose power and then regain power. This power glitch would cause the power door locks to activate. The fix is to repair the corroded power feed near the battery. The reports of this problem have all come from the owners of '97 models.

3.  Flaky Power Door Lock Controller  I have had a few people complain to me that their remote keyless entry seems to be locking the doors on its own. This is often characterized by the confirmation honk from the horn like when using the remote keyless entry. Apparently the controller is receiving some phantom signals indicating to it to lock the doors. The only fix I can think of is to replace the keyless entry controller. Some people have just disconnected the connection of between the doorlock controller and the horn in order to suppress random horn honks coming from their van.

4.  Pinched wire  The pinched wire fix is from Tom in Indiana.
I just repaired the problem on my '93 Villager, and it was caused when the wiring harness to the driver's side door manual lock was pinched between the interior door panel and some metal part inside the door. The insulation wore through and was grounding the circuit against the metal part. I just taped over the small opening in the worn insulation and relocated the harness away from the source of friction that wore it through in the first place.

5.  Bad Power door lock switch
I have at least one report of the switch located on the arm rest going bad and causing the self locking door problem.  The fix is to replace the switch.

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Question:  When I start my van on cold mornings the throttle sticks or binds, but this goes away as I drive the van. This is annoying because it causes the van to lurch when I start off from a stop.

Answer:  This is caused by carbon and other build up inside the throttle body. It can be solved by cleaning the throttle body. If you think you may want to do this yourself you should remove the throttle body before cleaning it. This way you wont have to worry about any of the solid bits of build up to get into the intake tract when you are cleaning the throttle body. Supposedly over filling the crankcase oil can hasten the rate carbon builds up on the throttle body.
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Question:  My van makes lots of exhaust noise and it sounds like it is coming from the exhaust manifold.

Answer:  You probably have a broken exhaust stud. Nissan has an improved exhaust stud Part No. 14065-V5003 that should keep the problem from reoccurring. If you want to fix this yourself you should visit Steve Cutchen's web page for more information,
http://home.earthlink.net/~vqfaq/.

Another possible source is the fitting for the EGR system on the rear exhaust manifold. You can check this by following the instructions provided by Steve Cutchen.

You can reach up from underneath and behind the engine to the top of the rear exhaust manifold. (follow the exhaust pipe up... Do this only on a cold engine.) Feel around on top, and you should be able to find a connection with a piece of about 3/4" piping that goes up toward the top of the engine. This is the connection we're looking for. This tubing routes exhaust gas back to the intake of the engine through the exhaust gas recirculation valve. There is a big cap nut on this tubing that screws onto a connection on the top of the manifold. When this nut comes loose, the tubing connection to the manifold leaks, and it sounds exactly like a broken exhaust manifold bolt. On my Villager, this nut was literally loose enough to be turned by hand. To properly tighten it and have it stay tight, Nissan suggests "peening" the threads on the manifold enough to make the now bent threads act like a lock nut. But do this too much and you've bought an exhaust manifold; the cap nut won't fully tighten over the boogered up threads. What I tried was high temperature Loctite (red tube; available at your parts store). Then I tightened the nut as tight as I could. So far it has remained tight.
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Question:  What is available for service manuals?

Answer:  Here are the choices.


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Question:  How do I program the code for my keyless entry keypad?

Answer:  First you need your permanent code which can be found either taped the to the owners warranty card in the owners manual, or taped to the computer module under the center console. The module is located behind the control console, below and to the left of the ABS control module. It is adjacent to the accelerator pedal, behind the kick panel.
Click here to see how to get to the permanent or master code that is located on the module under the center console. It is a white label with a five digit number printed in black. One person reported finding the label on the rear hatchback. Once you have the permanent code you can program a new code. To program the new code enter the permanent code and then enter the new entry code. When you enter the permanent code the keypad will beep for six seconds, during this six seconds you must enter the new code.

The keypad should give a short beep and light up whenever you push one of the keypad buttons. I have heard from at least one person that the beep function of the keyless entry was not working. He was still able to reprogram the keyless by proceeding with the programming instructions and ignoring the fact that it did not beep.

If you don't get beep and the keypad does not light this may be an indication that the keyless entry controller is defective. You can test whether the keyless entry module is alive by using the keypad to lock the doors. Pressing the buttons "7/8" and "9/0" simultaneously will lock all the doors. This does not work if the key is in the ignition to prevent you from locking your keys in the van.
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Question:  I have a clunking noise coming from the right rear under side of the van. The noise is only heard at speeds less than 30 MPH. I can reproduce the noise by driving at ~ 16 MPH and cutting the steering wheel back and forth.

Answer:  Provided by Steve Cutchen.
I had a similar clunking noise. I ultimately traced it to a slightly lose stabilizer link stud bolt. (The name comes from the factory shop manual... :-) )

The stabilizer link is the rod that connects the stabilizer bar (AKA anti-roll bar) to the chassis. There is a bolt that connects these two together, and it had worked very slightly loose (maybe one flat) on the passenger side.

I also had another commonly reported rear suspension noise, a squeak when the rear suspension bounces. I traced it to rubbing between a spring leaf and the little clamp like thing that holds the leaves (leafs?) together on top of each other. I wedged my "big muther screwdriver" under the open edge of the clamp thing and bent it out just enough to where it didn't squeak anymore.
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Question:  My brake lights have been acting funny.

Answer:  There have been two common problems reported with odd behavior of the brake lights. One has been a problem with the bulb or bulbs where two of the contacts short together or someone has installed the incorrect bulb(single filament bulb). The second is due to corrosion in the lamp socket for the brake lights. The corrosion is on between the ground wire and the socket. This can be corrected by replacing the socket or by cleaning the corrosion and making the connection more permanent by soldering the connection. Another possibility is if you experience problems after installing new bulbs you may want to check the installation. It may be possible to installing the bulbs rotated 180 degrees from the way they are supposed to be installed. If the bulbs are installed 180 degrees from where they are supposed to be installed they will not work properly.
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Question:  I plan to do my timing belt soon. Is there any special tools required or any special considerations?

Answer:  You should visit Steve Cutchen's web page for more information.
http://home.earthlink.net/~vqfaq/

I do suggest that when you are doing the timing belt that you should also consider changing your water pump. Also, there is a Hex plug located on the side of the head just below the cam seal. Check this plug for a possible coolant leak. If it is leaking remove the plug (not easy) and reseal the threads with Teflon tape or an appropriate sealing compound. Also, check the cam seals for leaks. If they are leaking replace them.
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Question:  My rear sliding door does not lock or unlock with the keyless entry. Is this normal?

Answer:  Your sliding door should lock with the keyless entry and the power door lock switch on either of the front doors. There is a pair of metal electrical contacts that mate up when the door is closed. Check these contacts for dirt or corrosion. They are located on the "B" pillar below the door catch and on the door. The contacts on the door are two round black posts with metal tips. If you find them to be dirty, clean them, or if they are corroded put a dab of Vaseline on each of the contacts. The Vaseline will help clean up the corrosion and to prevent further corrosion. If this does not fix it then the problem may be with the wiring or the actuator for the lock.
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Question:  I have a rattling sound that I think is coming from the distributor. Do I need a new distributor?

Answer:  You probably don't need a new distributor. A rattling distributor on these motors is usually an indication that the timing belt is loose. The timing will stretch and become loose with age. This is a sign that you need to replace the timing belt. The early model Quests and Villagers were specified to have the timing belt replaced at 60,000mi. intervals while the later model Quests and Villagers are specified to have the timing belt changed at 105,000mi. intervals. I firmly suggest you keep up with the timing belt maintenance. The good news is that the Quest/Villager does not have an interference engine and will not suffer major engine damage should the belt break. The bad news is that will be stranded and have to call a tow truck if the belt breaks. Click
here for information on a DIY timing belt change. Also, be aware that the 3.0l V6 engine in the Nissan Pathfinder and Maxima IS an interference engine.
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Question:  I have a '99 Quest and I am having rattles coming from the sliding doors whenever the weather is cold and I have grinding coming from the front brakes. The dealer has fixed the brakes, but the grinding quickly returned.

Answer:  I would like to hear from any other '99 Quest or '99 Villager owners to see if you are or are not having the same problems. If you had either these problems and is now fixed I would like to know about the fixes.
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Question:  My check engine light is on. What is wrong with my van?

Answer:  For owners of '95 through '98 models the most common cause of the check engine light is a deteriorated BPT(Back Pressure Transducer) hose. If that is not your problem then more investigation is needed. '93 and '94 models do not have the BPT hose, but the EGR passages can become clogged which can result in a CEL due to insufficient EGR flow. Unfortunately the CEL (check engine light) does not indicate directly what is wrong. I need to explain something about the CEL before writing anything else. The vehicle manufacturers are required to have their vehicles light the CEL should something fail or other condition occur that could lead to elevated emissions from the vehicle. So, the CEL could light any time there is something wrong that could lead to elevated emissions. This could be an electronic problem or a mechanical problem. That means a CEL could indicate any number of problems. It is possible to retrieve trouble codes that can help narrow down the possibilities. Instructions on how to retrieve the trouble codes can be found at this page :
http://www.nmia.com/~dgnrg/nissan1.htm

If you are probably having a problem with an intermittent CEL. Every time the failure occurs the CEL comes on, and may go out on it's own. If the CEL goes out on it's own, then as far as the Powertrain Control Module is concerned the problem went away.

It is difficult to tell what's wrong just from a check engine light. Lately, the most common cause of the check engine light is a deteriorated BPT hose that is leaking. This hose is a part of the EGR system. Click here for an image that may help with locating the hose. It also seems that the '96 and maybe the '97 models have had the throttle position sensor (TPS) fail somewhere between the 80,000 - 120,000 miles on the odometer. For '96 and later models another possibility is a loose gas cap. Trust me, a loose gas cap can cause a check engine light on the later models. It's an emissions thing.


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Question:  My engine makes a knocking noise when I start on cold mornings, but it goes away after a minute or so.

Answer:  If you have a 1995 or 1996 Villager/Quest the problem could be with a change that Nissan had made to the engine that was in effect from May 1995 until January 1996. They had deleted an oiling hole in the connecting rods. Unfortunately this oiling hole was responsible for keeping the piston skirt lubricated. Since the hole isn't there the piston skirt wears at an increased rate allowing the tolerances between the piston and the cylinder wall to increase. This allows the piston "slap" against the cylinder wall and make all the knocking noise.

Yes, Ford and Nissan know of the problem. No, they have not issued a recall, but a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin)has been issued to the dealers informing them that should any customer with one of the a suspect engine come in complaining about the noise, the dealer is authorized to replace the engine under warranty. The engines with this problem are identified by the engine numbers VG30-816604C through VG30-912495C. Additionally, the Quests with this engine can be identified if the last digits of the VIN are in the range from 816604 through to 912495. If you suspect you may have one of these engines have your dealer check as soon as possible because there is a limit to the warranty replacement of these engines.
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Question:  My heater only blows warm air when the engine is revving like when I am on the highway, but when I am stopped or driving at low speed I only get cold air from the vents. What is causing this?

Answer:  You are most likely low on coolant or if you have had a coolant change recently the problem is due to insufficient coolant within the system which is also results in having air trapped in the system. Check your coolant level in both the radiator and the overflow bottle. I also recommend that you follow the procedure for removing trapped air in the cooling system. It can be found as part of the coolant refill procedure, which can be found at
http://home.earthlink.net/~vqfaq/.
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Question:  There is this switch that is labeled E-AT. What does this switch do?

Answer:  In short, it is the Power/Economy switch for the automatic transmission. For the slightly longer version this power/economy switch is similar to the sport/economy switch that can be found on other cars. The normal or default mode is the economy mode. Pressing the switch will activate the power mode, which changes the shift points by causing the transmission to shift later for an up-shift and sooner for a down shift, thus allowing the engine to rev a bit higher than it would normally in the economy mode. This power mode is useful when towing and when climbing a steep grade. Using the power mode under these conditions is most helpful in preventing the transmission from hunting or using a gear that is too high for the situation.
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Question:  How do I program my van for a new Remote Keyless Entry transmitter?

Answer:  The following two procedures are for '96 - '98 and '99 - '03 models

1996 - 1998 (and 1995?)
All transmitters that are to be used with your van must be programmed at the same time. Once you enter the programming procedure you must program all the transmitters during the programming session. Only those programmed during the last session will work with the vehicle. You can use this procedure to also eliminate a transmitter by not programming the vehicle to accept the transmitter when entering the programming session. Just remember to have all the transmitters you want to use with the vehicle handy when you start the programming session.

The procedure:
  1. Enter the vehicle and lock all the doors with the power lock switch.
  2. Insert and remove the key from the ignition six times within 10 seconds. The instrument lights will flash twice.
  3. Turn the ignition key to the ACC position.
  4. Press the "Lock" button on the transmitter once.
  5. For additional transmitters, unlock the drivers door using the power door lock switch.
  6. Press the "Lock" button on the additional transmitter. The instrument lights will flash twice, indicating that the transmitter has been accepted.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for any additional transmitters. There is a limit of four transmitters.

1999 - 2003
All transmitters that are to be used with your van must be programmed at the same time. Once you enter the programming procedure you must program all the transmitters during the programming session. Only those programmed during the last session will work with the vehicle. You can use this procedure to also eliminate a transmitter by not programming the vehicle to accept the transmitter when entering the programming session. Just remember to have all the transmitters you want to use with the vehicle handy when you start the programming session.

The procedure:
  1. Get in the vehicle and lock all the doors.
  2. Slowly insert the key into the ignition and then remove the key. do this at least 6 times in 10 seconds (I believe the slow part is on the first time putting the key in because there is no way to do that 6 times in 10 seconds). The tail lamps will flash to indicate the original code was erased.
  3. Turn the ignition to the ACC position.
  4. Press any button on the first remote. (hazard lamps will flash to confirm programming)
  5. To enter additional transmitters, unlock and then lock the doors using the power door lock button on the drivers door. Press any button on the 2nd transmitter (up to 4 transmitters possible). Hazard lamps will flash to confirm programming.
  6. Open the drivers door and then turn the ignition off.
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Question:  I have been having problem with the rear latch on the sliding popping open. I'm sure I have closed the door all the way but after some driving it pops open after hitting a bump.

Answer:  The problem could be due to the linkage to the rear latch being improperly adjusted.  In my case it was set so that latch release was always partially engaged, which is similar to pulling the release handle part way but not far enough to release the latch.  With the latch in this partially released mode it wasn't able remain latched under the strain when the body flexes.  The fix is to readjust this so that the linkage is not biasing the latch to the released state.  I found that if I removed all of this bias, when opening the door with the outside handle it wasn't releasing until the handle was at the very end of its travel, so I readjusted to have a little bias towards the unlatched state.  I did this because I was worried that one day I would go to open the door and find that I wouldn't be able to open it from the outside.  Click
here for a diagram showing the linkage.  To adjust the link it will be necessary to remove the door panel by first removing the bezel from the door handle and then popping the panel off the door.  I do recommend using a door panel trim tool to avoid breaking the retaining slots on the door panel.  Once the door panel is off it is necessary to remove enough the plastic sheet to give access to the linkage.  Release the linkage from the junction near the center of the door by rotating the plastic retainer off of the linkage.  Once that is done that side of the linkage should come free allowing you to rotate the linkage.  You will likely need to shorten the linkage a bit by rotating the linkage clockwise.  Be careful of shortening the linkage too much.  If you do so, you will not be able to open the door because the rear latch does not release when pulling the handle.  According to the shop manual, this linkage should be adjusted so that the when you pull the handle the rear latch will release slightly before the front latch. Be sure to check that every thing is working properly before putting everything back together.  Another tip is to have ALL of the retainers lined up before popping the trim panel back onto the door.  It can be pain to get them to line up after half of the retainers have already been popped in.
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Question:  One of the headlights on my Villager/Quest quit working but the bulb is not burned out.

Answer:  There different causes of headlight problems depending upon the model year.

1993 - 1998 Villagers and Quests with Daytime Running Lamps
This problem is usually indicated by having one of the headlights not working along with having the blue high beam indicator lit when the high beams are not on.  The cause is some solder joints that go bad inside the DRL control module.  The DRL module is located in the engine compartment on the passenger side strut tower. To repair the module, remove it from the vehicle and remove the circuit board by using a small screw driver to pry a where the locking tabs are so that they can be disengaged allowing the circuit board to slide out.  Repair the solder joints at the relays using rosin core solder and a low wattage soldering iron.  High wattage soldering irons and guns can damage the circuit board as well as some of the electronic components.

An alternative to repairing the DRL is the more expensive option of replacing the DRL control unit.

1999 and 2000 Villagers and Quests only.
It may also apply to the later models, but I do not have any information that shows that is true. The problem may be caused by a defective headlamp bulb. The defective bulbs are Philips brand with a date codes range from D901 to F030.  The date code is at the end of the name and appears in the following format:
D9
01
The defective bulb has most likely caused heat damage to the connector on the harness harness side.  It is recommended that you replace both the connector and the bulb. The flickering or lack of headlamps is a good sign that the connector has already been damaged by the defective bulb.  Replacing the connector without changing the bulb will likely result in the same problem happening again.  Replacement connectors should be available at most auto parts outlets and they are also available from Ford with the part number XF5Z-14S411-AA.

1999 - 2003 Villagers and Quests
There is a circuit card under the center console that has two head light relays on it, one for each side. The relays are about the size of a thimble, but are black rectangles. What happens is the solder joint works loose, so simply resoldering cures the problem.
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Question:  Where is the PCV valve located?

Answer:  The PCV valve is threaded into the upper intake manifold on the rear side. This puts the PCV valve on the intake manifold side that faces the fire wall. Click
here to see a diagram that shows the location of the PCV valve.
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Question:  The lights for my HVAC (heating and air conditioning) controller have gone out.

Answer:  You will need to remove the HVAC controller and perform a few checks. Check the connections on the HVAC controller, including removing the light bulbs and checking the contacts. If the bulbs have burnt out, replace them with Ford p/n E5RY-13466-BA. This part retails for approximately US$5. Even if you own a Nissan, go to the Ford dealer for this part. At this time, this is the only source that I know of for this bulb. There is colored rubber cover on the existing bulb. You will need to transfer this cover over to the new bulb.
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Question:  I need help wiring up an adapter for trailer lights.

Answer:  The wiring to tap into is located behind the driver's side access panel in the cargo area. Locate the wiring that leads to the tail lights and you should be in business.

Tail light wire colors are:

Park = pink/white
Stop = yellow
Left Turn = red/green or black
Right Turn = red/white or green/white

For the parking light there is two pink wires in the harness. Go for the heavier gauge wire since it is better suited for the additional load.  For the turn signals you will probably need to use the red wires, the colors switch at one of the connectors in the harness. As always check first.   The preferred adapter is one that uses a separate power feed rather than draw on the existing power to the tail lights.  This is to help isolate the trailer lights from the lights on the van.   The reason is that if a problem occurs with the trailer lights you will protect the tail light wiring on the van from damage and this will help keep the lights on the van in operation in the event there is a problem with the trailer lights.
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Question:  The display on my radio has gone blank. Everything else on th radio seems to work.

Answer:  It seems that in most cases the problem is bad solder joint for the flourescent display.  Here is Chris's comments on this problem:
"On the factory stereos from Ford they used two types of displays. One is a LCD display with a light bulb behind to illuminate the segments of the display.  Replacement of this bulb can be tricky but not impossible.

On the stereos with the blue/green Vacuum Florescent Displays (VFD) the problem is usually caused by broken solder connections to the display board or the Tube. On most VFDs the last two pins on each end are the filament and if the solder connection breaks it will not let the tube light the segments.    Most VFDs will out last the life of the car but they do burnout.

Another problem to check for is if the tube itself is broken.  It is a glass tube."
Also, you can try here:
http://www.shareamemory.com/radio/.
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Question:  Whenever I am parked with the van facing downhill, even with only a slight grade, the sliding door will not stay open.

Answer:  There is a piece of flexible metal backed up with some rubber that tends to flatten out and no longer do a good job of keeping the door open.  This metal and rubber sits in the underside of the lowest track for the sliding door toward the rear of van.   This problem can be corrected by placing a small screwdriver under the flexible metal piece and pushing on the screw driver (do not pry) to reform the metal in the upward direction and reforming the metal into a more rounded shape.   Do not get carried away an over do it with the screwdriver cause damage.   See a picture of the lower door track
here.  This does two things. It increases the amount the roller needs to move up in order to get over the metal piece and it increases the amount the roller drops at the edges of the metal piece.  This helps keep the door in the open position.
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Question:  My control arm bushings are worn out and need replacing.   The dealer only sells the entire control arm for replacing the bushings.  Are there any other options to replacing this expensive part?

Answer:  Mike reports that he has successfully used the control arm bushing for a 1993 Nissan Maxima as a replacement bushing.  Here is Mike's comments on this repair:
"I decided to try a bushing from a 93 Maxima.  It was 20 dollars and fit great (slightly different but fits with no modification).  Instead of paying $550 for the lower control arms and having to rebuild the entire front end, it cost $40 and less than two hours of work.

PS  If someone wants to do the front bushings on the lower control arm, there is a part from ADUS #596 that replaces the existing bushing.  Removal of the arm is required."
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Question:  My van runs fine when it is cold, but when it warms up it runs rough and I have a tough time accelerating.

Answer:  There is a sensor in the distributor that tends to cause this problem.  The sensor is the called the camshaft position sensor and it is responsible for the ignition timing.  If you have a timing light you can verify that the sensor is faulty by checking the timing while the engine is acting up.  If the sensor is faulty, the timing will be erratic or just plain wrong.  In many cases cleaning the sensor will correct the problem.

To clean the camshaft position sensor:  Remove the distributor cap and rotor.  This will give access to a metal plate that covers the sensor.  Remove the screws the secure the plate and remove the plate. Inside there should be an optical sensor that you can clean using a spray type "Sensor Safe Air-Intake Cleaner".  Eye protection is recommended when doing this.

Unfortunately, cleaning the sensor does not always fix the problem.  In that case, the fix is to replace the distributor.  Since the distributor is quite expensive and the problem could be something else, it is recommended that you use a timing light to check the ignition timing for any problems to confirm that the problem is the camshaft position sensor.
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Question:  I have Clunk noise up front when going over bumps.

Answer:  There are a few possible causes of a clunk sound in the front end.  The possible culprits are worn out tie rod end links, worn out stabiliser bar end links, worn out ball joints on the control arms, and worn out motor mounts.

There is a test you can do that may help to identify the area where the clunk is coming from.   Drive over a speed bump straight on so that both front wheels hit the speed bump at the same time.  Do the same thing but drive over the speed at an angle so that one wheel goes over the speed bump at a time.  If the clunk only occurs when you drive over the speed bump at an angle, the problem is most likely in the sway bar linkage or possibly the steering linkage including the steering rack.  If the clunk occurs regardless of how you drive over the speed bump consider the struts, the ball joint on the control arm, or the steering linkage and steering rack.   It may be possible to check the sway bar links with a rubber mallet by striking the ball joint for the link to see if it clunks.

Another way to check the ball joints and tie rod end links is to start by lifting the front passenger side wheel off the ground.  With the wheel in the air grasp the tire at the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions and try to move the wheel.   Note how much play there is and whether or not you hear clunk.  If there is excessive play or you hear a clunk, either the ball joint or the tie rod end is worn.  You can watch or place a hand on each one of these items as you try to move the wheel to see which one is bad.  If you have an extra person handy you can check the driver's side tie rod end as you try to move the passenger side wheel.   Repeat this test with your hands at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions on the tire.  This checks the ball joint only.  Also, you can repeat this procedure on the driver's side.  You'll need to do this to check the ball joint on the drivers side.  If you find that you have a worn out tie rod or ball joint, replace both sides since the other is probably soon to wear out.

Checking the motor mount requires that you firmly set the parking brake and chocking the wheels.  With the engine running, have a helper observe the engine as you change the transmission from drive to reverse.  If there is excessive movement of the engine, one or more mounts are worn out or bad.  With safety in mind, be sure your helper stands to the side of the van and that there is enough room in front and behind the van so that if the van should begin to move you will be able to react in time to prevent the van from running into something or someone.
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Suggestions?
E-mail me at
cshaines@verizon.net



This page last updated 13 November 2007

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